WWHOOF is an organization that was begun in 1971 by Sue Coppard, a London secretary. She remembered the enjoyment of growing up in the countryside, working on a small farm and missed that experience. Wondering if others wished to spend time volunteering in the outdoors at small organic farms, she placed a small ad to check on interest.
There was plenty of interest. Today, WWOOF (World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms) has spread to 43 countries. The regions to choose from are North America, Latin America, Europe, Middle East, Africa, Asia Pacific. Imagine how cool it would be to help on an organic French vineyard, or at a New Zealand sheep farm.
Typically, hosts (farmers) describe what type of farm and what type of help they would like help with. This can run the gamut of farm needs, including planting, harvesting, milking, winemaking, orchard trimming and more. They also spell out time needs, such as 4 hours a day, for several days to a week to several weeks. That allows the volunteers to determine if their needs can be met, or if the time of year works well for them or to look for another opportunity.
There is no money exchanged. The volunteers can look through the listings to find an area they may want to go to and if it seems like it would be a good fit. This is important, as vegans may not wish to help at a dairy, or if lots of children make a person nervous, a large family atmosphere may not be a good choice.
◊ grow organically, are in conversion, or use ecologically sound methods on their land.
◊ provide hands-on experience of organic growing and other learning opportunities where possible.
◊ provide clean dry accommodation and adequate food for their volunteers.
◊ need a genuine interest in learning about organic growing, country living or ecologically sound lifestyles.
◊ help their hosts with daily tasks for an agreed number of hours.
If this sounds like a great opportunity to learn more, please see http://www.wwoof.org. This is the North American section. If international appeals to you more, please see http://www.wwoofinternational.org.